Julius, we’ve made it!

About one year ago, while I was living in Chicago, I started creating these architecture maps so I could remember all the awesome places I wanted to visit. One day a non architect friend asked me where was this amazing building I was always talking about – The Poetry Foundation. He was unable to find it, and after several failed attempts I decided to share my personal Google Map with him. I thought he was going to laugh at my map, full of buildings and architecture geeky stuff but the thing is that he shared the map with another friend who then came to me and gave me feedback. “Hey, did you think about including more information or maybe a link to the site”. By that time I had just created this blog so I decided to upload the only two maps that I had: Chicago and New York. And then everything started to change.

Virginia Duran Blog- Chicago Skyline Architecture Millenium ParkOne week before moving in to Rome for 7 months

So I moved to Rome and by then half of my friends already knew about this “Maps idea”. I had only 3 architecture maps on this blog.

When an architecture lover travels, he/she has to check several places such as Archdaily, MIMOA, Lonely Planet etc. in order to find all these architectural spots. I though that if I had done all the research before for my trip, all this information could be useful to others. So I started to put all these things I learnt in my maps changing the way I presented this information.

I learnt 3 things while doing these maps:

1. Almost everyone loves architecture.
2. If you explain why any building is so important people tend to appreciate it more.
3. I hate tourists (people who have no real interest in the city they are visiting and take pictures of everything they see as if it was a zoo).

When I did my 5th map (Rome) I was determined to start something big with them. On the one side I wanted to share all the amazing pieces of architecture that were sometimes unknown to non architects and on the other hand I wanted to benefit from technology to make this information useful. Julius was born.
A lot has happened since then. But this is what it has become for now.

Say hi to Julius for iPad:

Virginia Duran Blog- iPad app- Julius 1
Virginia Duran Blog- iPad app- Julius 2

Virginia Duran Blog- iPad app- Julius 3

Virginia Duran Blog- iPad app- Julius 3b

Virginia Duran Blog- iPad app- Julius 4

Virginia Duran Blog- iPad app- Julius 5

Virginia Duran Blog- iPad app- Julius 6

Virginia Duran Blog- iPad app- Julius 7

Virginia Duran Blog- iPad app- Julius 8

We are still working a lot on it but some of its features include:
– It creates something personal according to your traveling profile, no matter if you’re traveling by yourself or with your family.
– When you edit it, the system finds the best day to visit. The day that it’s free or when something special is going on.
Information is very curated, it includes technical stuff such as floor plans, construction details when relevant and information about the architect.

Our mission is
– to build something useful for the architecture lover, local or traveler it doesn’t matter.
– To make good use of technology in order to sort information affectively and to promote good architecture.

We just graduated with this project in Tetuan Valley Startup School. However, this is just the beginning of a really big dream.
Virginia Duran Blog- Tetuan Valley Startup School Graduation TVSS9Tetuan Valley Startup School Graduation Day- Mentors and Team members

For the moment it is just for iPad but future steps include a web and a phone app that are complimentary to the planned trip. If you have any feedback I would love to hear it, many of the big ideas came from comments on this blog 🙂

31 thoughts on “Julius, we’ve made it!

    • Wigdan! The app is not on the app store yet, we still need to improve some things! Thanks for the kind words 🙂 Hopefully it will be available very soon!


    • Thanks Anna! Will share a link when ready in the app store. I am so excited with this project 😀 Thanks for your survey, it really helped!


  1. Congratulations, Virginia! That looks fantastic. You are right, people do love architecture. Architecture has become so fundamental to human existence. It creates spaces for us, helps define how we live, shows us how we live, and often becomes an essential part of human history. Can’t wait to see the app in action. Will their be an Android version? 🙂


    • Richaaaard :)) thanks so much! From the surveys and interviews the next step is to build a web app. Which makes sense to me, when we plan our trip we are normally on the couch with our laptop or tablet. We love a big screen to dream which all those places we are going to visit. I plan my trips from my laptop for example. What do you think?


      • A web-based app sounds like an excellent plan. For the vacation my wife and I took back in the Spring to Cancun, we did the whole thing on the Internet, from booking the flight, the hotel, and the taxi to and from the airport. We used it to research all the resorts and the places we wanted to see.

        Oh, and you’re welcome! 🙂


    • Richard, which is your city right now? This was something we were hessitating a bit. Do you plan your trip from your laptop or from your phone? I like seeing all those wonderful places I am going to visit from a big screen, what do you think?


    • Hopefully it will be exciting. The best part of this project is still the process. I’ll admit to be sad when somebody told me “It’s done, now you just need to put it on the app store”. But I guess the process is a very important part so I’m happy that I really enjoy working on it. However, I’m going to keep on doing my maps forever. Next one coming soon—> Zürich!


  2. enhorabuena!! me parece un trabajo enorme pero muy muy guay!:) también espero verla para android pronto.
    me ha encantado lo de “odio los turistas” y la nieve del blogggggg!:D:D

    Zürich es impresionante, yo hice una búsqueda grande también cuando fui hacia allá.
    de nuevo, enhorabuena!


    • Martaaa, muchísimas gracias! Ha sido duro la verdad y aun queda bastante por hacer hasta que la subamos al app store pero ha merecido la pena. Odio los turistas y ojalá se murieran todos hahaha que nooo. Pero si es cierto que cuando les enseñas el valor arquitectónico del sitio tienden a respetarlo más.
      Ya te avisaré cuando tengamos la versión Android o web 🙂


    • Jane!! Thanks so much for stopping by and for your feedback since the design is not definitive. London will come soon so I will definitely need your help finding secret spots of this city 🙂


  3. Pingback: Startup School – About to graduate | Virginia Duran

  4. Pingback: Chicago – 2008 | Disperser Tracks

  5. Amazing app! I’m planning a trip to Chicago (1st time visit) and I’ve just found your beautifully crafted architectural guide and map. Thanks for sharing them!


  6. Pingback: Designing the Guide of The Future (In Paper) | Virginia Duran Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s